Industrial city of Kocaeli draws divers
The bay, located in the ancient Bithynia region in Kandıra district – a gateway to the Black Sea, has become an increasingly popular attraction for divers.
“We are the only diving spot between Şile and Zonguldak, and our biggest advantage compared with the south is that we are one to one and a half hours away from Istanbul,” said Sedat Türkmen, a diving instructor at the Sea Stars Sports Club, in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency.
The area is especially appealing to divers because the bay’s water has a low level of salt water, and the underwater views offer both natural beauty and intriguing relics from history, Türkmen said.
“We have a historic water break dating back to the Roman era, which was then used by the Genoese. Divers can see the historic Genoese breakwater at a depth starting from zero in the water and reaching up to 13-14 meters,” he said.
The diving instructor has been organizing diving activities in the region for about three years.
Kerpe is one of the rare coves in the Black Sea region where diving activities are available in every season, Türkmen said.
Ideal for underwater photography
In addition to the historical breakwater, the region is home to sea meadows, which are known as the “oxygen store of the seas” and is a breeding area for seahorses, said Türkmen.
“We are waiting for the seahorses to appear in about a month, and that this will be an ideal environment for underwater photographers,” he said.
Occasionally, historical amphorae can be seen on the bottom depending on the shifting of the sands.
“There is a rich underwater world here with anchors, cavers, rocky places and caves,” Türkmen said.
Kocaeli offers a variety of diving spots, including Karamürsel, Gölcük and Körfez districts.
“But we are the only diving point on the coastline covering the provinces from Istanbul to Zonguldak,” Türkmen said. “Kocaeli is a lucky spot in terms of diving. Divers, especially Istanbul residents, should explore these places before going to the Aegean. What do you want to see under the water? Cave, wreckage, seahorses, sea grass or historical Genoese water breaker? This is where they are. In Kerpe, you have the chance to see all the Black Sea fish such as stingray, mullet, mackerel, horse mackerel, red mullet, shrimp and so on.”
TSSF CMAS one-, two- and three-star SSI diving training programs, as well as materials for certified divers, are available at the diving center.